Searching for a spot on the packed Tory benches, Matt Hancock sat down between Jamie Wallis, who famously fled a car crash in a miniskirt and high heels, and Bernard Jenkin, a nudist who enjoys wearing nothing at all. Of the three, Matt is the most confounding – for he’s no longer a Tory MP but an independent, deprived of the whip and quitting Parliament before an election that, according to our poll, will eliminate half the Conservative Party.
The Tories have created new seats just so they can lose them: the Isle of Wight to double and go red twice, a revolution from Blackgang Chine to Alum Bay.
This is the sad-sack, last-ditch Commons that Rishi outlined his case for bombing the Houthis to – and no wonder he decided not to permit a vote in advance. Aside from giving the game away (the Houthis could have hidden their fireworks behind a sand dune), everyone said precisely what you’d expect. The PM decried the “biggest attack on the Royal Navy for decades” – four Roman candles and a Catherine wheel – and lauded the “necessary and proportionate response”. The important thing is not to parrot the Houthis’ “malign narrative that this is about Israel”.
Cue several Labour MPs demanding a ceasefire in Gaza, plus a truly bonkers intervention by Liz Saville Roberts (Plaid Cymru), who said that she lives among many sailors (lucky lady) – and that bombing the people trying to bomb them will only make their job more dangerous.
Hmm. There abides a strange conviction among lefties that pirates can be reasoned with, that they are jolly Rogers who simply want to find Captain Flint’s treasure – as opposed to one-eyed fanatics willing to die to keep their patch of desert where it belongs, in the seventh century. Alas, the Houthis’ willingness to talk with the British Government ranks only below that of the RMT.
Ed Davey stood up. The Tories booed, bestowing a reception so ugly one might have thought he was a Houthi himself. Sir Ed looks broken by the Post Office saga – dark rings around eyes that were focused on the Speaker, as if he couldn’t face the House – and when he finished, he slumped back down heavily. I feel sorry for him. But then if the Liberal Democrats had even a whiff that a Tory had behaved as Ed did when Post Office minister, they would show up outside the miscreant’s house with placards, screaming for a by-election. Those who live by the sword, die by it – as Long John Sana’a and his Islamist crew can now attest.
It’s all very well blowing up a few camels, implied Julian Lewis, but with our Navy so small, are we ready for a sustained campaign? Indeed, I read in Jane’s Book of Bombs that Britain has only six missiles in its inventory – and now we’ve used two of them. Hancock, always upbeat, intervened to say that he thinks the PM is doing a super job and that it would be silly to involve MPs, such as himself, in decisions that actually matter.
Matt is our generation’s Kissinger. The critics forget that he’s been on an SAS course and spent several weeks in Australia, where he entered into discussions with rats, maggots and a kangaroo’s wang. We shall miss him when he finally sails off into the sunset.